Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here



Hello! I'm looking for assistance with the NICET 4 in Water Based Layout. Specifically, just some general thoughts and impressions on the difficulty of the test. We found a jurisdiction that requires NICET 4, and while I wasn't planning on taking the test, it appears now i may have too. How does it compare with the 2 tests for level 3? Is it generally just more specific questions on storage, fire pumps, and special situations, or is it completely different?



I have been wondering the same. Everybody I talk to though has taken the tests the old way. I have yet to find anybody who took the computer based Level IV test.


Same for me. I tested under the elements and want to get my Level IV but just haven't made it a priority. NICET has the specs for the exam on their website. It is partly a supervisory exam in addition to a nuts and bolts sprinkler exam. There are OSHA, CFR and extinguishers on the IV exam that wasn't previously in the element format.


Sorry guys. I'm an old man. I took it under elements style. The biggest issue was just the hardy cross analysis that we had to do. I wish you guys the best of luck getting that IV.

Travis Mack, SET, CWBSP, RME-G, CFPS
MFP Design, LLC


Yikes! I may sign up and take it before breaking out the books a bunch. Hate to waste the money, but it may be best to get an idea on what the test is like so I can focus my studying on area's that will help the most.

Thanks for the feedback.


I just passed the NICET IV CBT just after the April changes, and my first try was before those changes in 2018. I'd recommend just taking the test to focus your studying. However, the NICET content outline is more or less accurate and you'll need to be prepared to answer some fire alarm and special hazards questions. There were also some questions about contract law and estimating. The first time I took it I got questions about the TIA process and the people on the NFPA committee's, but those aren't in the content outline anymore and weren't on my second try. Might still help to read up on those before going in. I had to take it twice to pass. First to realize I'd been studying wrong, second to actually pass. In general, the exam wasn't really focused on sprinkler system design so it's hard to explain how you should study. You can see it from the content outline breakdown, but you'll really feel it after answering your 6th question about fire alarms on a 70 question exam. Hydraulics weren't a big focus. If you've passed the NICET III Hydraulics then you already know enough about hydraulics to answer any questions that come up in the IV.


Like Travis I took my Level IV back in the 1990's when everything was element testing.

I remember the Hardy Cross well and while it wasn't that hard of a problem to solve you had to know what you were doing but where I got lucky is I first learned how back in the 1970's when there wasn't any other way because personal computers didn't exist. For 10 years all my calculations were with pencil and paper and you ended up getting pretty good at it.


@Wolfgange--NICET website says the Level IV test is 70 questions, with a time limit of 290 min., including a 20 min break. Is the time allotted enough to get through the test? And is the break at a set time, or when you request it?


The exam is split into two parts with the break in the middle. You can't go back to part 1's questions after the break. It was somewhere around 30 questions in and you do need to be escorted out of the room to take it. I didn't use the break either time as I just wanted to keep plugging along. Used the majority of my time on both attempts. There's a fair amount of math and obscure questions that encouraged me to make sure I double or triple checked my answers. If you don't take the break the time isn't applied to the exam. So either way you only get 270 minutes for answering questions and won't be able to use the break to think about any tricky ones.


That is what I was thinking--try to hit it all, take the break and think about the stumpers, and then go back to it. I should have known they had it set up to prevent this...lol. Still good to know though!


I've thrown my hat in the ring for level 4. Glad to hear the experiences of others. I took up to NICET III, the FE and the PE all using paper and pencil. I don't like the idea of computer-based testing but I will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

Are the results available when you leave the testing center? This is new to me as before all exams were scheduled months in advance and your packets picked up at the beginning of the exam. After exam day there were weeks of waiting to learn if you passed.


I've only taken CBT through level 3, but so far all the results are available directly after the test. It's the one good thing about CBT lol.


Just for reference I am studying an early '90s NFSA book (quite a large book at that, bigger than NFPA 13, 2013 edition) for levels I-IV, a mid '00s Firetech book (a slender volume that has an audio CD set) for element levels I-IV, a late '90s AFSA fire sprinkler design book, a mid 00's Michael Baker elements book for I-IV, the Jumpstart construction book referenced in the NICET exam outline, Pat Brock's Fire Protection Hydraulics and the accompanying NFPA and FM Global references provided in the exam outline.

I'm sure this is all wrong based on Wolfgang's comments above however I need to be studying something!

I know something about fire alarm, conventional systems anyways, having designed a number of special hazards systems like FM200 and NOVEC 1230 for data rooms. We'll see what happens.


I took the level IV exam this past Saturday and passed. It was an intense 4.5 hours; the questions were tough but fair in my estimation. Like Wolfgang said follow the outline and you should be fine. As always good time management is critical. Focusing on the exam for that long was the hardest part for me.


@NewtonFP - Awesome news, congratulations! We've gotten slammed at work so I've put it off again, but I'm glad to hear its in line with the content outline and glad to hear you passed!


Congratulations. That is a significant accomplishment.

Travis Mack, SET, CWBSP, RME-G, CFPS
MFP Design, LLC


Congratulations NewtonFP!!!

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close